This is not a book stuffed into an app. It is an application. The second thing to know is that the content is very good.
The content is a refresh of the O’Reilly HTML & XHTML Pocket Reference, Fourth Edition and benefits from have been honed over multiple editions. As a pocket reference it shows a decision to opt for concision over being exhaustively deep. But it is good because it is on point.
The content can be browsed or searched. Browsing includes a list of elements and a list of attributes. From the attribute list attribute entries link back to element entries for the elements that use the given attribute.
The search feature works across both elements and attributes but apparently there’s no word stemming. Searching on ‘sel’ finds no results. ‘select’ finds results that include the select element but not the selected attribute.
The app was developed in HTML5, CSS3, and jQTouch. PhoneGap was used to create an iOS executable. There are plans to bring the app to Android so using PhoneGap probably seemed reasonable. But there are quirks present that probably result from not being directly developed to iOS. Overall I didn’t see performance issues on a first gen iPad and on an iPhone4 but scrolling and scrubbing in the elements and attributes lists was sometimes touchy. What seemed like a light flick would sometimes send the list flying to the end. Touching the scrub bar is not always recognized, so instead of scrubbing through alphabetically the list is only scrolling. There’s no visual cue when the scrub bar has been activated.
Despite a few deficiencies it’s a huge win in convenience and utility to have this content in the form of an application. I’ve been working on updating an older site and this application has proved its worth as what it claims to be: a complete reference.
Thanks to O’Reilly for providing the application for review.